Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell, Montana was killed yesterday while reportedly attempting to stage a Bigfoot hoax. Tenley was walking on a highway wearing a hunter's ghillie suit, likely similar to the one seen here, when he was struck by two different vehicles driven by teenagers. From KAJ18.com:
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider says friends of the victim said Tenley was wearing a military-style camouflage ghillie suit in hopes of creating a Bigfoot hoax…
"It's still a crash involving vehicles and a pedestrian. So we're still doing the same investigation, but once we started speaking to parties, then someone involved in it, trying to ascertain exactly what brought that gentleman out to Highway 93 … I would not guess that would motivate anybody to be out on Highway 93," Scheider said.
[Video Link] I spent many hundreds of hours enjoying Blinky the Clown's TV show on Denver's KWGN-TV. The good-hearted clown (real name Russell Scott) died today at the age of 91. I'm sorry to hear it.
Scott's career as a clown grew from sketches he performed for children who came to see the elaborate miniature circus he maintained at his home.
"Dad was incredibly artistic," said daughter Linda Scott Ballas, who with her husband Steve, owns Steve's Snappin' Dogs in Denver.
"Everything was to scale, like one of those model train layouts. He hand-carved the elephants, a gorilla, put little motors under the plywood table that would move the animals in a circle, move the trapeze act and the barkers. It started out for me and my sister, but the more involved Dad got, we weren't actually allowed to touch it."
If this has made you nostalgic, you might enjoy reading the 594 comments in the 1960s and 1970s Denver pop culture open thread, where we discussed Jakes Jabbs, Starr Yelland, KWGN channel 2, Celebrity Sports Center, The Yum Yum Tree, Blinky's Fun Club, Buffalo Bill Museum, Heritage Square, and more.
Tim Powers is one the founding fathers of steampunk, and a writer whose every book is superb. I drove down to San Bernardino City College to talk to him about his latest work, Hide Me Among the Graves, a secret supernatural history of the Pre-Raphaelite poets and painters.
He has a rather unique perspective on writing, history and fantasy that involves identifying events that seem as if they might have some supernatural aspect and then creating a backstory that ties them together. The Rossettis; Dante Gabriel Rossetti (poet and painter), Christina (poet), William and Maria are a perfect set of subjects.
We had a great time talking about how he put it all together.
Rebecca from EFF sez, "EFF is proud to announce the winners of this year's Pioneer Awards: hardware hacker Andrew (bunnie) Huang, anti-ACTA activist Jérémie Zimmermann, and the Tor Project -- the organization behind the groundbreaking anonymity tool Tor. These winners have all done truly important work to protect our digital rights. Join us at the award ceremony on September 20 in San Francisco.
A.S.M.O.'s circuit-bent toy guitar, currently for sale on eBay, features "super pitch bend knob and touch bolts, LFO with speed and depth controls, headstock light sensor, audio out jack socket." Note the Throbbing Gristle t-shirt. (via @chris_carter_)
Amy Reading's The Mark Inside is perhaps the best book I've ever read on con artists and con artistry, a retelling of one of the classic stories of the bunco boom that marked the start of the 20th century in America. Reading builds her book around the life story of J Frank Norfleet, a soft-spoken, thrifty Texas rancher who built his fortune up from nothing, only to lose it all to a gang of swindlers. Norfleet became obsessed with the men who'd victimized him, and became a nationally famous vigilante, crisscrossing America bent on capturing and jailing the whole gang -- and any other con-men he met along the way.
Norfleet himself was transformed by his quest, which awoke in him a kind of inner showman and bunco artist. He delighted in showing off for the press and for audiences, spinning yarns as adeptly as the con artists he hunted. In order to get cooperation from government prosecutors and lawmen, he had to flimflam them, too, convincing them with carefully scripted cons of his own. Reading places Norfleet's con within the wider context of the con-artists who ruled America and the shifting American attitude towards wagering and speculating, showing how the whole nation was moving itself from a republican thriftiness to a nation that mythologized plungers and get-rich-quickmen who made a fortune by dicing with dollars in markets and at the faro tables.
I've read dozens of books about and by con artists (the bunco boom had its own publishing wing, and every fast talker who lived long enough seems to have penned a memoir after the fashion of The Yellow Kid Weil). Not a one of them captures the pathos and bathos, the absurdity and temerity, the virtuosity and the venality of the con man quite like Reading. She writes with the lyricism of a magic realist, but with the rigor of a historian, and so much of her best analysis springs from her explorations of the differences between different accounts of the same events.
Books like Where Wizards Stay Up Late and The Right Stuff and The Information perfectly captured their own individual moments in time -- turning points in the modern history of the Earth. The Mark Inside stands with these as an engrossing and illuminating account of the moment at which speculation -- not thrift -- became the order of the day in America, and it's thrilling and hilarious by turns and when you're done, you understand the past and the present better.
After Ben Affleck denied that he was ever officially asked by Warner Bros. to direct the Justice League movie, a new name has been tossed into the internet rumor mill: Wachowski, as in Andy and Lana Wachowski of The Matrix (and Cloud Atlas, V For Vendetta, and Bound). The siblings are now apparently on the WB's short list to direct the DC Comics ensemble answer to Marvel's The Avengers. It's pure, unadulterated rumor right now, but it's a cool one, for sure. And Hugo Weaving would probably be on board for that, which is pretty boss. (via The AV Club)
Evoland is a Zelda-style adventure game by Nicholas Cannasse, opening with monochrome graphics and rudimentary gameplay. As the player progresses, it evolves in complexity and color—just like your childhood. A great idea, beautifully executed, with some neat historical humor to boot. [via Free Indie Games]
When you watch Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and see the corpse of Norman Bates' mother revealed, don't you wonder what she used to look like? I mean, Norman was kind enough to put on a wig and give us an idea, but in the end, he was still just a very disturbed man in a dress. Not the most accurate representation of Mrs. Norma Bates. But A&E is going to finally end all that wondering we've been doing now that they've cast Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) as Mother. Dear, dear Mother.
I suppose the other news is that yes, this Psycho series is actually still happening, despite no one really asking for it. But while it's never encouraging news to hear that someone is trying to capitalize on a classic horror movie by turning it into a TV show about already-existing characters (because that's generally known as "fan fiction"), at least it's coming from interesting people. Notably, the executive producer and writer of Lost, Carlton Cuse. Nothing "run of the mill" is coming from Carlton Cuse. And this show, Bates Motel, is promising a Twin Peaks-level of weirdness and mystery for the story that will tell us what Norma Bates did to her son that turned him into such a demented person. I'm not going to lie -- that sounds pretty interesting. A&E clearly agreed when they picked the whole thing up for series right off the bat.
Farmiga's Norma is being described as "a complicated, passionate and compelling woman who's a smart, multidimensional character always capable of surprising people." Probably not with cupcakes. But she sounds delightful! Maybe, in the end, Norman was just a brat.